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An Alien Perspective On Humanity

Updated on November 16, 2016
Sam Wickstrom profile image

Sam read a number of Noam Chomsky's books in which he uses the allegory of the alien perspective of humanity.

The Alien Perspective

Let's imagine an alien who has been observing the earth since its formation. He has seen it all, the greatest of catastrophes and extinctions. For billions of years life continued in the predictable fashion of survival and reproduction. Then he notices something peculiar. Around 200,000 years ago a primate begins to walk on two legs, and use tools. For millennia he watches as humankind strives for survival, making it through the most harsh conditions. He notices that we begin to overtake our environment, controlling it and using it to our advantage on mass scales. We plow vast plots of land, and with our free time brought on by the excess of food, we have the ability to read and write, and explore reality, understanding it with scientific tools. We begin to develop advanced technologies that allow us to experience ease and wealth never before imagined. He watches as we industrialize our society and produce goods extensively with little effort.

Russia's "Satan 2", capable of obliterating an area the size of France.
Russia's "Satan 2", capable of obliterating an area the size of France. | Source

Nuclear War

The alien begins to see strange developments, vastly different from any other species. Mankind develops atomic weapons of mass destruction, capable of wiping out cities and eventually entire nations. Other species rarely even kill members of their own kind, so this is a new and unpredictable change to the alien.

We use the weapons of mass destruction to destroy each other in battles which confuse the alien. Again, he is perplexed by our willingness to go to such great lengths in the endeavor of killing each other off. He is surprised by our outright hatred and malice for one another. The alien considers intervening, but figures that the psychological condition of our species is beyond repair.

He notices that we derive a sort of twisted pleasure from having weapons capable of causing destruction on intercontinental scales, with the possibility of nuclear winter wiping out most of life on the planet. He tries to understand why we would go so far to lock each other into a trance of fear, but can't quite work it out. However, the alien begins to see that our addiction to power outweighs our awareness of looming global destruction.

Starving Child
Starving Child
Indoor Ski Resort
Indoor Ski Resort
Luxurious Shopping Mall
Luxurious Shopping Mall
Child Scrounging
Child Scrounging

Extreme Inequity

The alien also sees that, although we claim to be altruistic, kind, compassionate, and good people, we are immensely indifferent to the suffering of others. He notices that we seem incapable of having empathy for others beyond a certain number of individuals. He sees that the number is around 400 at most. Beyond that, we can only imagine, and what is out of our sight, is out of our mind.

While oil tycoons in the middle east set up expansive indoor ski resorts in the middle of a smoldering desert, children continue to starve to death by the thousands everyday. He discerns that we are apathetic or unaware of the starvation that continues. The contrast between the epidemic of obese and starving primates is unreal to him, and he finds it very unsettling.

He detects that roughly 50 individuals have more property and wealth than 3.75 billion others. He wonders why so few, would take so much, and leave so little. He observes again that this must be the primates uncontrollable addiction to power, outweighing our capacities for empathy and compassion.

He looks at the boundless profusion of buildings dedicated to consumption of banal goods made by nearly starving and sickly workers, while a prosperous few pay a starving workers yearly wage for a trivial garment they will wear a few times before discarding it to the limitless dumps and landfills in which dying children scrounge for a morsel of rotted food to survive another day.

He takes note of the hundreds of billions of pounds of animal flesh consumed by the primates, who indecently don't need the animals to survive. He watches as tens of billions of these animals ache and suffer in ignoble gulags of despair. Pumped full of antibiotics and steroids, the animals often break under their own weight, growing to be full adults while they are still in their youth. The alien observes that we seem to be oblivious to the effects of organisms becoming exponentially resistant to antibiotics, which the primates require to survive infections and illness. He wonders why we would go so far to destroy our selves and the animals we once lived along side.

Noxious Gases Pluming
Noxious Gases Pluming
California Drought
California Drought
Glacier Before And After
Glacier Before And After
China Smog
China Smog

Environmental Catastrophe

The alien takes note of how we work unrelentingly towards destroying our own planet. He sees the noxious gases pluming without end from smoke stacks and exhausts on our enhanced motility machines, energy generators, industrial processing plants, and commercial manufacturing sites. He is astonished by our inability to see the limitless solar, geothermal, and gravitational energy freely flowing all around us. He doesn't understand why we poison our surroundings with toxic wastes when we could be using safe alternatives or even foregoing excessive consumption. The alien believed that our primary goal was to survive and reproduce on the planet for as long as possible, but this changes his view and he wonders why we seem to be committing mass suicide.

He watches as forests become deserts, tropical paradises become wastelands, beautifully colored coral reefs become grey, crystal clear waters become bubbly and yellowed with virulent pollutants, and the once clean air becomes a pernicious mixture of carcinogenic gases.

He sees the oceans rising and coastal cities flooding, the once limitless glaciers, a source of spring water, entirely melt and leave billions thirsty and ready to kill for just a sip of the precious life giving liquid.

The alien is beyond baffled by our monumental ignorance and rapacity.

The Alien's Thoughts On Our Psychology

The alien sees that we are indeed very intelligent, at least as individuals. But as large groups we behave more foolishly than lemmings following each other to their collective demise.

He deduces that we must be either highly sociopathic, narcissistic, psychopathic, or simply incognizant of the effects of our actions, and possibly even nihilistic to the extreme. He sees that although our brief conquest of our planet was a mark of exquisite intellect, it ended in our self vanquishment. Perhaps the alien moves on to other systems, to observe the steady maturation of other civilizations. Conceivably he might stop us at the last moment, terraform the planet to its original state, and give us a lesson on the detrimental effects of myopia, and how to plan for the future. But, we might wake up to our foolishness before it's too late. However, we may also continue along our current perilous path towards imminent eradication.

Related Scene From My Dinner With Andre

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